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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

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Cucumbers, Jesus, and Deception

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost — also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.” (Numbers 11:5) The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are perplexing concepts, […]

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Why Many Christians Doubt That God Loves Us

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:7) The 1980s was a big time in establishment Christianity, and as college students, my husband the Norwegian Artist and I attended the closest thing to a […]

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God Gave You Your Birthday. Celebrate It!

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4) We are celebrating a spate of birthdays in our household these days, events that don’t necessarily stop with cake. The person of honor is […]

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Christian Sheep: We Can Learn from Goats

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I’ll never forget the first time I milked a goat. My best friend from college, whose degree was in animal husbandry but who more importantly kept goats and milked them herself, was convinced that my family needed two of the […]

Are You Ashamed of Your Job Title?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’” (Matthew 9:18) How we define ourselves matters. All too frequently, we squeeze ourselves into little boxes, ones set before us by a corporate society that […]

“Foreigners” Are God’s Children, Too

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” (Ruth 1:16-17) As a Christian […]

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8) Whenever I tell an appalling church story, I am sure to be scolded. “Not all churches are like this!” is the general response. “You shouldn’t be so harsh […]

Where Does All the Tithe Money Go?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32) If you attend conventional church for any time at all, you will […]

Family and Friends Are Not Dysfunctional

posted by Carolyn Henderson

People matter. “Of course they do,” we all nod our heads emphatically.  A ridiculously easy way to bring people to tears is to show them a clip of a politician, movie celebrity, or extraordinarily rich and famous businessperson wiping their eyes and […]

What Chickens Teach Us about God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

There are two primary ways to learn about God: The first, and most obvious to all of us (even though we may not take advantage of the resource), is Scripture itself. Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Gospels, Epistles, History, or […]

You Don’t Belong to Any Church: You Belong to God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

You don’t have to be a student of political science to recognize that there is no perfect, man-made governing system. Even democracy — which is not what we live under in the United States — works better on paper, or […]

Finding the True God When We’re Worshiping the Wrong One

posted by Carolyn Henderson

There is a tiresome joke among Christians about patience that goes like this: “I don’t want to pray for patience, because by golly, God will send me all sorts of circumstances to try it!” Ha Ha. What’s not so funny […]

Four Thoughts about Thanking God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Saying Thank You to God does not have to be a chore — but then again, given the way we are instructed to do things within a cold, contemporary, corporate Christian environment, it is a bit difficult: “We must thank […]

Mass Manipulation by the Mass Media

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Nowadays, dystopia is the rage. Books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner seem written for the sole purpose of being turned into movies, with a concerted effort to engage today’s youth into the idea that life, and the future, are […]

Forgiveness Is a Promise, Not a Contractual Agreement

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Too many Christians spend too much time trying to placate a God who will not be satisfied with anything they do, simply because He dislikes them so much. Despite this being an inaccurate understanding of the intimate relationship between a loving, […]

No Fear — Experience Christ’s True Love

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Jesus is love.” How often do we hear this? If we’re around Christians, or within Christian circles, then we’ve probably heard it a lot. At the same time, however, it wouldn’t be unusual if we were confused, because, though people talk about Jesus, and […]

We Don’t Need Celebrity Christian Permission to Stand up for Ourselves

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I don’t tend to keep up on “Christian News,” because it pretty much looks like the standard misinformation and disinformation that the rest of the media world puts forth, only with the words “Jesus” and “God” thrown in enough to […]

Questioning Convention: It’s Part of Growth

posted by Carolyn Henderson

One of the problems of formal, prescriptive Bible studies is that, frequently, they mooooooooooove soooooooooooo slooooooooooowly through the Scriptures, focusing on one or two verses at a time and haranguing the poor words until they collapse, exhausted, and pant out, […]

Confusing God with Santa Claus? Yes. And No.

posted by Carolyn Henderson

As Christians, we scold ourselves a lot, not the least of which is about prayer. Have you heard this one? “God isn’t Santa Claus, you know, and He gets tired of our putting a wish list in front of Him […]

Silly Little Rules

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In a recent conversation with a five-year-old, it came out that using a pen, in kindergarten, is a prohibited activity. Violation of this particular law results in the punishment of putting one’s head down on the desk. What strikes me most about […]

Why Ordinary Christians Can — and Should — Speak up

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When you live in a small town with a major employment base being the school district, you’re not particularly popular when you speak against the party line. But since the friends you make by constantly agreeing with others aren’t real […]

The Discipline of God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Discipline is an ambiguous word, easily misunderstood because its two major applications are so at variance with one another. In a good sense, discipline is what athletes do — training their bodies to achieve top performance through practice, hard work, persistence, […]

Some Days, We Feel Pathetic

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Just outside our dining room window is an extremely pathetic nectarine tree. Actually, when it comes to producing nectarines, it’s phenomenally successful. With its lack of leaves, hollowed out inner section, and floppy branches, however, it projects a wretched state of […]

Looking for Your Ministry? 5 Ways to Find It

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Many Christians, especially in church settings, focus — obsess — about finding their ministry, and they pore through 1 Corinthians 12 searching for suggestions: “Do I have faith? or a message of wisdom? I’m pretty sure I don’t have the ability […]

Why Doesn’t God DO Something?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

On one of the Christian Google-Plus communities I follow, a perfidious little troll regularly posts photos of starving children, highlighting his point with accompanying commentary like, “Where is the good and gracious God?” Actually, he’s more verbally adroit than that — quite clever, actually — and to avoid confrontation or actual dialogue he […]

How Long Will We Let Other Christians Call Us Dogs?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Those of you who have lived with, or through, a fifteen-year-old girl know that adolescents of this age generally fight self-esteem issues. Call it hormones, peer pressure, society, or fat days, 15-year-old girls need a lot of love and reassurance […]

What Is the Christian Response to the Israel/Hamas Situation?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When I returned home from work last week, there was a message from the bank on the answering machine: “Please give us a call at your earliest convenience.” That was it, and because of all the myriad of privacy laws protecting me […]

Should You Question Authority?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Should you question authority? You bet. Generally I avoid words like “should,” “ought,” and “must,” because they are frequently misused to manipulate people into doing things that they don’t want to do, as in, “You should go to Sunday School.” […]

Three Encouraging Thoughts to Get You Through the Week

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Not everyone’s Monday is actually on Monday. But regardless of what day your week starts, it’s highly likely that it’s not a smooth transition from your day off to your day on. This low point of our week, when we grab […]

Letting Satan Win

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Fear is one of Satan’s best weapons, because it’s relatively inexpensive. For a minimal outlay, Satan — who generally works through the assorted people on this planet who love him, worship him, or have sold themselves to him for whatever […]

Afraid to Post on Facebook

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I have a cat named Xena the Warrior Princess, which is a diverting misnomer because she is one of the timidest animals alive. Admittedly, as far as staying alive, running away from trouble is a successful stratagem for Xena, who spends her days concealed in the bushes, wide-eyed and paranoid. When she does venture out, she […]

Will We Ever Say Good-bye to the Legacy of the Vietnam War?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Anniversaries are supposed to be celebratory things, generally of weddings, when a couple starts a whole new life together. How odd that we use the same word, “anniversary,” to acknowledge — surely not celebrate? — the unwanted introduction of the Vietnam War […]

3 Reasons America Does Not Need — or Want — Prayer in Schools

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians, like all humans, fuss about things, and a central fussing point of the last many years is prayer in schools. “Our country is falling apart because we no longer have prayer in schools,” people say, emphasizing the point with […]

Accidents Happen, but You’re Not One of Them

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In case you’re wondering why my typing is all off and squiggly, I cut my finger last night while I was slicing bread. Like most accidents, it happened quickly and was definitely unintentional, and yes, I know that it was […]

The Kingdom of Heaven — How Do We Get There?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

How to get to heaven is a piece of information that from the beginning of time, humanity has wanted to know. The rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16 – 29 (Mark 10: 17 – 30, Luke 18: 18 – 30) […]

How to Be Great, Important, and Significant

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I love reading about the disciples. They’re so refreshingly human, constantly expressing fear and doubt and selfish ambition. One of the greatest gifts the Bible gives us is that it’s written honestly, and doesn’t — like we do — provide […]

The Gifts We Give to God — When We Have Nothing Acceptable to Give

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When I was a very young child, I wanted desperately to give my mother a proper present, but being a child, I was unable to buy or make something of the quality that she deserved. So I made regular raids […]

Are We Stuck with Our Bad Choices Forever?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Tough love. It’s an oxymoronic — or maybe just moronic — psychological phrase that has crept its way into Christian thought. We’ve been told it’s the solution to codependent relationships, another psychophrase bandied about more frequently than words like grace, mercy, charity, patience, or […]

Trust God, and Get Your Jammies on

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Life happens in grocery stores. I was in line yesterday with my loaf of English muffin bread when I overheard a deep, male voice rumbling behind me: “After this, I’m going home and getting my jammies on.” I sincerely admire […]

God Is Not as Inept as We Think He Is

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Lately, I have been working on a bad habit, and if you have teenagers, you probably know what I’m talking about: I remind people, frequently, of obvious things to be done, and it drives them nuts. Like this, to Tired […]

When the Prodigal Son (or Daughter) Is Yours

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11 – 31) is a familiar one to many — sometimes because we’ve been the person who has broken our parent’s heart ourselves, other times because we are that hurting parent. The principle message […]

What Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that sound good, but get so taken over by marketers and manufacturers that its true meaning gets lost. People are subtly, or not so subtly, nudged into buying the perfect gift, and celebration turns […]

What’s So Bad about a Comfort Zone?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

If you haven’t heard the term “comfort zone,” then you must never attend church. Or work in a cubicle. Or listen to politicians. Comfort zones — that area of life where we operate, well, comfortably because we understand our circumstances, […]

If You’re Not Jewish, Why Do You Act as if You Are?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Because someone, somewhere will be quick to take offense, let’s waste the first paragraph of this article by stating that I have nothing against Jewish people, and if you are Jewish, I’m glad for you. I’m not out to convert […]

God: What Do You Want Me to Do Today?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We all want to do great things. For some people, it’s a matter of making a success of themselves, via money, power, fame, and name, and the ultimate goal is to be rich, well-known, secure, and powerful. King Solomon of […]

The Confident Christian, and Why He’s So Dangerous

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When I was a young woman and a new Christian, I used to swoon in the presence of the Confident Christian Male. I’m sure you’ve met these Alpha Omega types: they command a room as soon as they effect their […]

Speak up, and Don’t be Afraid

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor about an obscenely expensive, $20 million dollar bond our local school district is floating. As a veteran homeschooler who launched four highly literate, analytical, articulate adults into the world of work and […]

Lessons from the Easter Bunny

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Full disclosure: we do Easter egg hunts. But then again, we also do Halloween and Santa, and have been remarkably able to separate these particular family traditions from our theological viewpoints. As Christians, it’s important to not only talk, and talk, and talk […]

Your Learning Curve, as a Christian

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“When God dies, does He fall down from the sky?” I’m sure it doesn’t take long to identify a few theological misconceptions in this question, but when you consider that the inquirer was a four-year-old, you have to admit a […]

Previous Posts

Three "Christian" Teachings That Jesus Didn't Teach
"For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week's assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes ...

posted 11:45:01am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

How Come God Never Speaks Directly to You?
"Then the voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 I'm sure many of you have had the experience of someone accosting you and announcing, [caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignleft" width="351"] Frequently, ...

posted 11:30:31am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Does Jesus Get Mad When We Complain?
"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Some of the most insensitive sayings, passed on via social media memes, are posted by people who call themselves Christians. There is a lamentable desire to encapsulate ...

posted 1:51:31pm Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

When Christian Leaders Say, "Jump!" Do We Leap?
"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you." James 1:5 For many years, my literary junk food was celebrity people magazines. Once every two weeks I headed to the ...

posted 12:51:02pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

How to Recognize a False Prophet
"Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11) Recently I ran across a blog from a mega-pastor who was refuting the teachings of another mega-pastor. Mega-Pastor B had some decent things to say about grace, mercy, ...

posted 1:41:02pm Aug. 07, 2015 | read full post »

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